This year has been amazing for actress Toni Trucks!
In 2012 alone, she has starred in Ruby Sparks, alongside Academy award winner Annette Bening, and Antonio Banderas, cast as a new vampire in the Twilight franchise, and most recently she stars as Cyndi Vega in CBS’s Made in Jersey.*
Toni’s career floodgates have officially opened, but it took years to get to her overnight success.
After her education at University of Michigan’s department of Musical Theater and in London, she began her career in regional theater in New York, Washington, DC, and Baltimore. Soon after, she officially began her TV career as a series regular on Showtime’s Barbershop. She played the role of Terri Jones.
Shadow and Act sat down with Toni to discuss her role on Made in Jersey, Twilight, and her career evolution.
Shadow and Act: You have a chameleon like presence in Hollywood. Many people may read this interview and not know who you are. However, you’ve been in the industry for a while now. How does that make you feel?
Toni Trucks: It doesn’t bother me. If you look at my body of work, my characters drastically vary, and so I typically don’t play the same role. It makes me feel reborn with each role.
Shadow and Act: You play Cyndi Vega on CBS’s Made in Jersey. Can you tell us about that show and role?
TT: The show is about Marteena. She is 100% a Jersey girl, and a first year lawyer. I play Cyndi Vega, her secretary and best friend. My character helps her achieve her wins.
Shadow and Act: This is your third TV show as a series regular. Are there any specific lessons that you have learned that you can share with us?
TT: I learn as I go. When I was on Showtime’s Barbershop, I was learning every day. I was also on UPN’s All of Us, and I learned that the more that I watched myself on screen, the more I learned what works for me, and what does not work for me. It’s best to be a student as you go. My parents always told me that you always want to be the worst of the best. If you are the best, you never learn. I’m always trying to learn from the people around me.
Shadow and Act: In Barbershop, you play a role that was originated by the rapper Eve. Did you watch the film before you auditioned?
TT: I did not see the original before I auditioned. I was so into my theater career, and I had not caught the film. I just went through the character breakdown, and auditioned. My goal for the role was not to create a caricature of what Eve had already created.
Shadow and Act: You studied musical theater at the University of Michigan. Can you tell us about that program?
TT: Its one of the top musical theater programs in the country. The program accepts ten women and ten men in their program each year, and I was accepted. It was kind of competitive. I chose the program because I have a passion for live theater. And I wanted to hone that skill. I then took some time off from the program and moved to London and just concentrated on acting.
Shadow and Act: Tell us about your time in regional theater.
TT: Upon graduating from the program, I did mostly regional theater. I was bopping all around in theater for a while. I was in Washington, DC, Baltimore, New York. I was so hungry to keep working; I was really ready to always work. The discomfort was good, it made me work harder. I was doing “Two Gentlemen in Verona”, in Baltimore when I auditioned for Barbershop.
Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about the film “Ruby Sparks”, and your role of Susie?
TT: It’s about a writer that creates his ideal woman. The film is a romantic comedy, but it does have some dark elements to it. It’s like you have to ask yourself if you really want to be with a person where you can dictate who they are, like everything. In the film, I play Susie, the wife of the actor Chris Messina’s character. My character is the opposite of the perfect girl that the main character has created.
*CBS will be airing the remaining 6 episodes of "Made in Jersey" this fall on Saturday nights. Nov. 24th&Dec. 1, 8 p.m., Dec. 22nd &29th, 8-10 p.m. (back-to-back).